Tips

How Long Should You Warm Up an Engine Before Winter Driving

The cold winters of Minnesota can be especially difficult on your vehicle. When it comes to getting in your car and starting it, how long should you warm up the engine before you start to drive it? This question has been up for debate for some time, but the real answer just might surprise you. Read on to learn more about properly starting your engine during the freezing months of winter.

Is it Necessary?

For decades, people have been told that it’s absolutely essential to warm your car up before driving it. Older cars used carburetors that needed the proper blend of warm air and fuel to be delivered to the engine and without it, the car might sputter or stall. Soon, carburetors were replaced with a fuel injection system that includes sensors designed to automatically detect when the proper air and fuel mix was delivered. This means that warming up a newer car is not necessarily needed. The short answer? You should really only warm up your engine for around 30 seconds before driving it.

The Downsides to Warming Up

When you idle your car, it’s consuming fuel. In fact, you can consume anywhere from a quarter to an entire half gallon of gas every time your car idles for an hour. If you do this ten minutes each day before heading to work, it can add up quickly. Idling your vehicle also creates harmful emissions that can pollute the air. One single 10-minute warmup of your engine can create an entire pound of carbon dioxide that is then dispersed into the air. Excessive idling is also harmful to the engine. Over time, idling can affect your car’s cylinders, spark plugs, and its emissions system.

How You Should Prepare

When it’s frigid outside, a good 30 seconds is really all it takes to properly warm up your engine. Slowly exit your driveway or simply pull out of your parking space while avoiding revving the engine. Technically, your vehicle should be ready to operate within just a few short seconds and you should be able to safely reach highway speeds instantly. Scrape any ice or snow off your vehicle before you start it to avoid excessive idling. This will help you save on gas since your car won’t be sitting, struggling to operate in frigid temperatures.

If you’re in need of maintenance or auto repair, contact Village Autoworks located in Roseville and Woodbury, MN today to schedule your appointment.

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